Our very first wedding anniversary was upon us! It’s so hard to believe such a sweet year together is already here, but ANY occasion is an excuse to travel. We already have a weeklong trip planned in June, so we were looking for a quick weekend getaway that would quench our forever lingering travel thirst. With DC being a mere four hour drive from Raleigh, we had our destination!
Okay, my first tip with traveling to DC is if you’re driving, try nooooot to arrive during rush hour traffic. Because you’ll sit and sit and sit for 1.5 hours and it tends to take the edge off the excitement!
The hotel was unbeknownst to me as an anniversary surprise, and the sun was already down once we got into DC, so I REALLY had no idea where we were going! We ended up at The W on 15th street. This hotel had a lot to offer in the line of modern design and luxury accommodations. AND VIEWS. ALL THE VIEWS. We had a prime seat to the White House right outside our window!
When you plan a weekend in DC without realizing the White House Correspondent’s Dinner is in town AND pre-parties are going on in your hotel, you can’t help but get swept up in the excitement & feel a little fancy too!
ANYWAYS. We roll up at 9PM, get settled in, and we’re absolutely starving. SO it’s time to go seek out what culinary adventures DC has to offer (as food makes up about 85% of the perks of traveling). We catch an Uber to Barracks Row, the oldest commercial district in DC. Nestled in along a strip of other restaurants on cozy 8th street is Ambar, i.e. the meal that slayed my life. Ambar is a Balkan restaurant, serving dishes paying homage to the cultural area of southeast Europe referred to as the Balkans. They’ve got your typical appetizers and entrees….OR….OR. You can do what is called the Balkan Experience. Unlimited tapas. Unlimited drinks. Unlimited dreams come true.
I unfortunately missed the photographic opportunity that was the probably 10 small plates we got between the two of us because I was busy having my mind blown all the way to 1776 and back. Let me just tell you that every plate is an experience at Ambar and literally EVERYTHING is the actual bomb.com. Balkan food KNOWS its meats and cheeses. It knows it better than you do. So if you go and the menu intimidates you or you’re unsure, you can always just take the server’s idea and reccomendations–halfway through our Balkan Experience (and maybe a few glasses into our Vino Experience) we let our server take the reigns and got to try some REALLY amazing food that we might not have picked ourselves! And then to top it off, SOMEONE told them we were celebrating our anniversary, and this showed up. #mealsthatmakeyousmile
Day two was about being DC tourists! Day two was also about being gently reminded that while we live a mere 4 hours away, there was definitely a temperature drop that my wardrobe was not prepared for AND it was drizzly. ALWAYS double, triple check your weather before a trip! (A rookie mistake I should not be making..)
However, once we set out this was nothing!
We hit the Lincoln Memorial first, and I had one of those omgz moments where it felt so crazy to be standing in front of a piece of history that I’d only seen and read about up to this point. Also, like, this thing is HUGE
A drizzly, but still incredibly beautiful National Mall
Standing at the exact spot Martin Luther King, Jr. stood to deliver the “I Have a Dream” speech
National Mall- the White House end
The biologist in me is nerding out over Salk’s polio vaccine in the Smithsonian Museum of American History
I would also like to note that we did visit the Holocaust Museum, but I put away all of my camera equipment for that stop. It was incredible. It was devastating. It was real. It was tangible. All I have to say is that everyone should visit, it will change you.
The end of our site seeing day had us exhausted from walking, our cameras full of incredible pictures, and ready to get that happy hour started! We weren’t into searching all over town after our long trek, so we stopped at The Hamilton on 14th which was right near our hotel. GREAT draft brew list if you’re into that kinda thaaang. We had two drinks at the bar and then decided to eat dinner. Definitely a huge variety of entrees- something for everyone here!
So after dinner, we head back to the hotel to get ready for the night. We caught Barry O’s WHCD speech, and could simultaneously look out our window and see the spotlights/chopper hovering out the Washington Hilton-yes, totally fan-girling!
The fan-girling continued on when we headed upstairs to our rooftop bar and found ourselves on a patio surrounded by WHCD attendees still in ballgowns and tuxes-talk about feeling underdressed!
But more importantly, let’s talk about these night views on top of The W.
BEAUTIFUL views to have a drink in the nation’s capital!
We could also talk about heading downstairs after a few drinks and finding this electronic photobooth in the lobby and taking full advantage of it…but I think the pictures speak for themselves :p. I’ll also shamelessly fan-girly note that a WHCD afterparty was going on directly across the hall from this 25 minute photo shoot…
MOVING ON to….Sunday! The most bittersweet day [mostly bitter] if you’re doing weekend travel. But Sundays are known best for brunch and this one did NOT disappoint! French toast is one of Cody’s favorite for breakfast and biscuits and gravy are like a smile for the stomach. Perfect perfect perfect!
A trip to the National Archives before we headed home, where you cannot take photographs. This is the building where you can view the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. So rich with history and so incredible. If you’re trying to narrow down what museums you need to visit while in DC, definitely put this on the list!
Shortly after, we headed back down to North Carolina! DC was the perfect weekend getaway, and a perfect kickoff to our anniversary. We can’t wait to return!